It's hard to imagine what business processes looked like before we had digital tools. All professionals today make use of technology to carry out their work functions daily. Digital solutions help us improve business processes significantly. Still, most companies are barely scratching the surface to optimize their operations by using virtual tools to streamline tasks and deliverables.
Implementing digital solutions in a business starts with understanding what tools are available to a company. A business can choose from thousands of productivity tools to help with accounting, finance, marketing, fulfilment, logistics, human resources, and all sorts of business processes.
How digital document management can help your business
There are many digital solutions for business that can help us maximize productivity. Still, one that can radically change the way you operate a business or perform your tasks is a document management system. 90% of all business information is stored on documents, indicating that digitization of our document storage and processing systems can have massive implications on the company as a whole.
There are many benefits to a digital document management system. Here are the three main ones.
Document issues cause over 21% of a company's daily productivity loss. By digitizing the business document management process with the use of cloud-based systems, employees can share documents and collaborate a lot easier. For instance, two staff can pass documents to one another and even edit them together without having to print documents. This allows for more back and forth and less cost and time spent getting documents like contracts, proposals, reports, or project briefs done well and done right.
Speaking of lessening cost, that's another benefit to having a document management system on its own. A business can spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year, printing out documents. It will most likely be the same for your company, and you've probably re-used scratch paper to save a dime or two! But what if one could lessen printing or even eventually eliminate it? It would help reduce printing, paper, printer maintenance, and other costs.
Time and time again, companies have faced issues with documents leaking out to the public, whether in printed or digital form. Cloud-based file storage systems can be great, but a simple digital folder lacks the necessary security to protect company files. A document management system can be perfect when passing sensitive and confidential documents like financial reports, internal contracts, meeting minutes, and so on.
Digital document management software helps curb data theft by putting necessary rules and regulations to ensure that only authorized staff can access certain documents. Companies can even add automated tiers that determine what level of clearance a staff member might have when accessing documents online.
5 tips to using document management software to improve business processes
Document management software is very simple in nature, but implementing them into a company's workflow can sometimes be challenging because stakeholders and managers don't know where to start. Here are five tips to help guide you through the process of implementing a digital document management system into your business.
1. Adopt a digital culture
A company can try to implement all types of digital solutions into the mix, but it will fail if it doesn't have a digital culture, to begin with. Some businesses have the problem of staff members who refuse to digitize because "that's not how it was done before." Stepping into the digital age requires full buy-in.
Galvanize employees enough to excite them about the shift by talking about the benefits that come with a change. Take time to orient and train your team members on the benefits of running a digital document management software to help lessen the learning curve. And don't forget to give grace when making changes, so no one feels rushed by the change.
2. Automate business processes
Through the power of business intelligence and computer learning, digital tools can help staff save hours every week by performing repetitive tasks for them. The advantages of business process automation outweigh all the trouble needed to set it up. Some common business processes you can automate include setting automatic reminders for people to check documents on your cloud-based system.
By using document management systems, business employees and entrepreneurs can also get a fully automated overview of documents and their various statuses— whether they've been sent, opened, signed, or actioned in any way. This feature can remove the arduous follow-up process, which can steal significant time daily.
3. Secure documents
A key to creating a sustainable business is by placing the right security measures in place. The reality that all businesses face is that there are people all over the internet eager to get their hands on privileged information that they can use, often to the dismay of the information owner.
When setting up your document management system, decide who gets to access which files and stick to those protocols. It always pays to err on the side of caution when it comes to file management. Make use of role-based access control to determine which departments can access which files to batch the access-granting process. When selecting a digital document management tool, choose one that has end-to-end encryption and sufficient data validation processes like device approval and so on.
4. Digitize your document signing process
One revolutionizing feature that has risen in recent times is the ability to use document management systems to sign documents digitally. Reports indicate that 45% of companies spend up to one week to get one document signed, delaying operations significantly. With digital document signing software, a company can remove that deadweight time loss and streamline activities significantly.
Business process optimization strategies like digital document signing processes face a lot of misconceptions, such as the lack of compliance. Truth be told, there are more organizations and governing bodies that accept electronic signatures more than one thinks. When in doubt, it helps to ask a client or institution if they accept electronic signatures. If they do, then your company is off to the races.
5. Regularly audit cloud storage
When going over different types of document management software, any company will realize that most if not all of them use a cloud-based storage system. This kind of system makes use of digital storage facilities that give anyone permission to store and download files from virtually anywhere with nothing more than an internet connection.
While cloud-based storage systems are nifty and helpful, they can get cluttered just like any hard drive or filing cabinet. So the same staff and admins might take time regularly— whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly (hopefully it isn't annually!)— the same practice must happen with cloud-based storage systems— archive files based on categories so that it's easier to pull them out when needed. Most cloud-based systems have been around for years, so you don't have to worry about companies erasing them without your permission.
There are many other solutions that can help with digital transformation business process management. Using a document management system is but the tip of the iceberg, but it's a great place to start given that it affects all departments and staff. Everyone uses documents and loses valuable time and attention because of bad document storage and processing practices. Digital documents can help reduce that wastage and ensure that your business stays optimized and keeps growing and thriving for many years to come.